Choosing Between Contract Or Full Time Business Analyst Job Offers

Part 5 of 9 in the Series: How To Start A Business Analyst Career
How To Achieve In Your Career
How To Achieve In Your Career

I am dedicating this article to answering a question posted by an independent contract business analyst. If you have a question or challenge about your business analyst career, post it as comment at the end of this article and I will answer it for you:

Here is the question posed by the independent contract or consulting business analyst:

… I got hired by a consulting firm. I was under the impression that I was with a company with a team-oriented environment. By this I mean that I thought I would be working with project teams etc.

I shortly realized that the company operated much like a ‘body shop’- I was put on contracts on my own. I shortly realized that I was operating almost like an independent contractor.

I read your article on independent consulting and lets just say that was my role but with very little experience. I have survived this environment … but now Im exhausted cause I never feel “caught up”. Im trying to make a career plan, but with the last few years I feel like I have lost the vision…??

I think I’m looking for some mentorship/direction…!

Here is my answer to the challenge facing the independent contract business analyst:

Not All Business Analyst Job Offers Are Good For You!

Years ago … in the middle of the last tech crisis when all tech jobs were gone, I was living in Madison, Wisconsin and had 3 job offers to choose from. One of the job offers was a full-time job offer from a consulting firm.

The full-time job offer looked good on the surface. I was new to Madison, Wisconsin, the job offer promised me a steady source of pay, zero bench time, a career path, a competitive salary and lot’s of opportunities to grow my career!

However, I did some research on the job offer and here is what I came up with:

Business Analyst Consulting Jobs Cloaked As Full Time Job Offers

Doing due diligence on the company and full-time job offer, I asked the interviewer, how many hours I would be working on a full-time basis?

The answer really surprised me … I was told anywhere from 55 to 60+ hours or as much work as it takes to get my work done!

That is when the first alarm bell went off … you see it is not uncommon to be asked to work a 45 hour week. But to work a 60 hour week, indicates a 12 hour work day! That sounded unusual for a full-time job offer.

Full-Time vs. Contract Business Analyst Salary, Wages and Compensation

Then I asked my second question .. How would I be compensated for the extra hours I would be investing in the position?

At that point, the interviewer paused and then answered that it depends on how the company does at the end of the year. If I do very well, I may get a bonus, etc. So, I did a quick mental calculation. Working 20 extra hours per week, 80 hrs. per month equates to 1,000 overtime hours. I then realized that in a true or real contracting position, I will be getting between $25,000 to $75,000 for that extra amount of overtime work!

How To Evaluate Business Analyst Contract Or Full-Time Job Offers

  1. Are You Compensated Fairly? Are you working for a business analyst consulting firm that hires you as a full-time employee and then sends you out to work an extra 15 to 20 hours in overtime pay for a promise of end of year benefits, compensation adn a better life? If you do, are you then compensated at the end of the year at a rate commensurate or better than what you get paid … if you work those overtime hours as a contract business analyst?

  2. Are You Trained To Do Your Business Analyst Job? If you work for a business analyst consultancy, you will be thrown into whatever work your employer finds. Employers are not that picky when it comes to accepting work from clients because they need to pay bills as well .. and I know this because I have been on the receiving end of both, first as an employee and then as an owner of a consultancy firm! However, an exceptional employer would give you work that is challenging but does not lie too far outside your skill sets without re-training you.

    The challenge here is that you if you work as an independent contract business analyst, you are really in control of your own career and your own destiny. By this I mean that you can pick and choose the contract jobs that match your skill sets or that you are trained to handle. If you work as a business analyst for a business analyst consultancy, you may not be able to choose the assignments that match your background, skills, training and aspirations. You have to depend on your employer to make that choice for that.

    If you find yourself working for a business analyst consultancy and being placed on projects that you are not prepared to handle, here is a quick solution:

    • Get More Hands-On Business Analysis Training: You can take a look at the core skills required to perform the projects frequently assigned to your business analyst consultancy. Find the overlapping skills that are needed for the majority of projects, and then ask your employer for training on those skills
    • Research Your Business analyst Job Offer Before Getting Hired: In my story, I asked the consulting firm, a few questions to determine if the position being offered was a good fit! I had three job offers and each of them paid better than the offer from the consulting firm. However, that is not the reason why I did not accept the job offer from the consultancy. I realized during the interview that the business consultancy firm was asking me to invest about 1,000 hours per year in overtime labor without a fair compensation plan. For the plan to have been fair, my base pay should have factored in all those extra over-time hours or I should have been offered an hourly pay after 40 to 45 hours of full-time work.

Is Your Business Analyst Job What You Signed Up For?

So, here is the action plan. You need to evaluate if your current business analyst job is a good fit for you … career wise! You are probably feeling over challenged about your current business analyst job because you knwo in your heart that it’s not quite what you signed up for!

You are missing the feeling of belonging to a real business analyst team. That is because your business analyst consultancy moves you from one project to another and from one client to another … because that is how consultancies generally operate! If you are lucky, you get to stay on one client or project for a long-time and build relationships with team members … but that is an exception and not a rule.

However, in a real full-time business analyst position where your employer is not a consultancy, you will have a much better chance to build relationships with team members, work as part of a team versus working in a solo fashion!

Also, why it is true to say that most business analysts need some form of training to do their job … since the range of required skills is generally wide, business analyst consultancies and business analyst contractors may need even more training … because they are expected to bring an expert set of business analysis skills to each client engagement!

What Is The Challenge Facing Your Business Analyst Career?

I hope I answered your question. If you have any question or challenge about your business analyst career, go ahead and post it as a comment at the end of this article and I will be glad to answer or solve it for you!




12 Responses to "Choosing Between Contract Or Full Time Business Analyst Job Offers"

  1. Ravi   March 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Sir,

    Please Help me With this.. I have Completed Engineering in 2009.. Presently i am Working as a Server Monitoring Engineer.

    But want to Pursue my Career as a Business Analyst. I Somewhere read about the online course.. Will it be helpful if i could take that…

    Will this Experience of 2 Years count or do i have to Start from the Scratch as a fresher.

    What are the required Documents do we need to refer for this job if i dont have to do the Online Course … Please Suggest.. eagerly waiting for your Reply…

    ReplyTweet
  2. Warren McHenry   February 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    This posting was excellent!! I got the comprehensive understanding that a couple of my frineds have been trying to provide me piece meal.

    I had a frend look at my resume and she was confident that it was strong enough. I stated specific examples of products I produced, but it was for a business I was very familiar with.

    I need to prepare myself and be able to sell myself as being capable of exracting the vital information from clients in a very thorough and comprehensive manner.

    You are abosoutely correct about today’s positions requireing some degree of technical knowledge and it appears to be growing.

    Thanks again, I have a better handle on the work that is still ahead of me.

    ReplyTweet
    • ITCareerCoach   March 29, 2012 at 1:55 am

      Warren, I am glad that you found this advice helpful., Please do share this article with your friends and social networks …

      ReplyTweet
  3. Vijay   June 5, 2011 at 6:23 am

    I am a B.Com graduate with 5 Years of Insurance experience. I want to go as a business analyst. Please guide me.

    ReplyTweet
  4. Samantha   December 9, 2009 at 2:05 am

    I read your reply and it really helped me a lot in understanding about my future career.

    I still strongly feel to become a BA.

    Based on your questions:

    (1) & (2) Do you feel that you are incompetent at computer programming?

    Do you dislike being a computer programmer?

    My Answer: Yes, to some extent I feel incpmpetent since I am not very strong in object oriented programming. Because of this I started disliking object oriented programming. But I still like the usability, user interaction, design etc.

    (3) Are you changing your career because some one told you….

    My Answer: No one told me, but when I was working in my last job I did BA for one project. Every one praised me for that and I did a good job.

    But again, I didnt do a formal BA and since I have worked there for about 5 years they didnt expect me to do so either.

    So I did BA and kind of project co-ordination with the techlead and finished it on time.

    Also my prior managers adviced me that I am good in this and think about this for my future career (based on what I did).

    (4) Do you understand the challenges….

    My Answer: Yes, I like talking to people (managers, clients) regarding projects and getting things done.

    One problem I am facing now is, when I talked to a friend who is a BA, he said first I have to make up my mind to which industry I want to go as a BA (pharmaceutical, finance, publishing etc…).

    So once I go in one direction, then I have to stick with that I think?

    Will that impact job searching in future?

    Say I go into publishing, then I may not go as a BA in
    finance or pharmacy etc?

    Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions and for your suggestions.

    ReplyTweet
    • IT Career Coach   December 12, 2009 at 5:58 am

      Your question is: “Should you Start off as a Domain Business Analyst specializing in Finance, Publishing, etc.”?

      My recommendations is that you should not and here is why:

      1. Step One: what makes you a business analyst – whether you decide to be a domain business analyst specializing in pharmaceutical, finance, publishing etc…or not, you first have to address the question, what makes you a business analyst and Is that your domain knowledge? Specializing in a domain is not what makes you a domain business analyst, so you have to be careful with assumptions like that, ok?

      2. Step Two:get trained in business analysis – your first goal should really be to become a business analyst and not necessarily a domain business analyst. What that means is that you should learn everything that you can about business analysis or become the best business analyst you can be!

      3. Step Three: get business analysis hands-on experience – then look for business analysis work and start doing it. You may actually end up finding that you are hired as a domain business analyst, for example as an e-commerce business analyst . Or you may discover that you have to work as an intern or volunteer before someone will give you a job …

      4. Step Four: choose a business analyst domain – A domain business analyst is a business analyst who has specialized in a specific domain. I would say that trying to specialize in a business analysis domain first before becoming a business analyst is like putting the cart before the horse. After you become a business analyst, you may choose to specialize in an industry that you already have some background, education or experience in. If you have been working in the marketing and sales industry before you become a business analyst, it makes sense that you will go to become a marketing and sales business analyst

      I hope that this answers your question. In addition, I encourage you to become a business analyst then become a domain business analyst by transitioning to an industry that you have some background, experience or exposure to … that way, you will have the right background for the industry.

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  5. Samantha   November 30, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you very much for your answers. It really opened my mind and make me think about my future career. Yes, I will have to think before jumping into a new career and definitely take your suggestions/questions and think over it.

    ReplyTweet
  6. Samantha   November 20, 2009 at 10:34 am

    I have been doing we development for the past 9 years — The first six years I was working as a web designer and developer and have done a lot of design, usablility, write usecases, some requirement writing (for a small project). I enjoyed there and I was very close to every one. Then I lost my job. So I went and learned object oriented programming (ASP.Net) and for the past 2 years I am working as a programmer for another company. But for some reason I am so afraid and nervous with the management and I dont even open my mouth.

    Now I am thinking of becoming a business analyst and I have been reading a lot on the web. Also from my prior company I have some requirement writing experience (used ony MS word).

    How is the prospect for some one like me in becoming a BA? Any advice how I should proceed and show that I can be a good BA? My former company manager always tells me I am quite analytical and encouraged me to become a BA (but I became a programmer)

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    • IT Career Coach   November 27, 2009 at 6:59 pm

      Samantha:

      The challenge facing you is probably not whether you can become a good business analyst but the challenge of picking the right career.

      You have been a web developer, web designer and a web usability professional for a number of years (nine years) and when you lost your job, you broadened your programming skills by learning ASP.NET. But now you’re nervous nd afraid and are thinking of changing careers to business analysis.

      I would suggest that you start by finding out why you really want to stop programming …

      1. Do you feel that you’re incompetent at computer programming

      2. Do you dislike being a computer programmer?

      3. Do you feel it’s justified for you to change careers simply because you don’t like your employer?

      4. Are you changing careers because someone else told you to do so … or what makes you think that you will be a better business analyst than a computer programmer?

      5. Do you understand the challenges of being a business analyst? As a computer programmer, you may be able to avoid your managers / management if you don’t like them by putting your head down and coding. As a business analyst, you will have to face, confront and relate to those unpleasant management situations you are facing right now. What is your gain plan for that?

      6. Do you call it quits when you face a tough situation or are you resourceful? Whatever career you choose, you will be faced with obstacles and it may be time for you to learn how to face them and solve them … am I making sense?

      Samantha, you should face the issues confronting you squarely before looking at starting another career 🙂

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  7. Xolani Nxadi   March 6, 2009 at 2:42 am

    Thank You Very Much for utmost assistance,

    i believe it will assist.

    ReplyTweet
  8. Kingsley Tagbo   March 5, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Xolan:

    The reason that you feel the way you do about your business analysis career is probably not because of an inferiority complex or poor communication skils.

    Here is what I think is the root cause of your situation

    Lack Of Confidence In Your Business Analysis Skills

    You lack confidence in your business analysis skills not because you are a junior business analyst but because you are approaching your job with the mindset of a junior business analyst. What you need to do is to change your mindset.

    The stakeholders, business owners and senior managers in a business don’t really care that much about your job title.

    The higher structure of your organization does not care about whether you are a junior or senior business analyst. They care about one thing … and one thing only!

    1. Can you move the business forward?
    2. Can you bring value to their discussion?
    3. Can you help them succeed with their tasks?
    4. Do you know what you are talking about?
    5. Can you deliver the goods?
    6. Have you done your homework?
    7. Do you know more than they about the topic under discussion?

    Notice I said one and only one thing … yet, I mentioned 7 things!

    Yes, these 7 things actually relate to one thing … which can be said in 7 different ways.

    The challenge that you are facing is that you are defining your contribution and value to the company by your job title: “Junior Business Analyst”.

    Your Contribution To Your Company is Not Defined By The “Junior Business Analyst” Job Title

    This is what you have to so to stop feeling inferior or afraid to contribute towards your senior management meetings … take the time to study, learn or master the issues, concerns, problems facing your comonay and your self-confidence will receive a big boost. This is the natural way to handle self-confidence issues … to know more about the business problem at hand than anyone else at the meeting.

    Here are some more tips for your improving self confidence:

    1.) Get to know your senior management, stakeholders, higher structures or business owners outside the management meetings. Introduce yourself to them, ask them how you can help them succeed at their jobs, what their pain points are … take notes and study and learn about the issues they present to you.

    2.) Take time to study or master the business processes you are involved in. Flowchart the processes, talk to the individuals who do the job, get to know them by name. Make it a point of duty to learn more about the business than even the business owners.

    3.) Take time to prepare exceptionally for your business meetings. Decide what you want to say … and prepare the documents to back it up. Prepare the use cases, flow charts or any visual aids that you can share during the meeting. When the meeting start, put the stack of documents or visual aids that show that you understand the problem and that you’ve though through a soljution.

    Just by being that prepared and providing everyone at the meeting with several copies, attention, leadership and respect will naturally gravitate to you.

    Moreover, you will be asked to explain or discuss your presentation and because you understand the problems better than anyone else … you will excel. You will be sought out during the meetings because you know more about the problem and the potential solutions than anyone else … you will become the star of the meetings.

    So, here is your answer … focus all your attention and energy on being the most knowlegable, helpful and prepared person at the meeting … and you will see that the higher structures would seek you out, give you room to speak and ask you to contribute to the meetings.

    That is it … good luck … please come back here and share your story after you put these tips to work and start getting results 🙂

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  9. Xolani Nxadi   March 5, 2009 at 3:17 am

    I am a Junior Business Analyst and i am enjoying the career path, but my problem is that I have a fear of raising my point when i am in a meeting with the higher structures of the organisation, this makes me think i do not have good communication skills.

    I suffer from inferiotic complex because Everything I do have it in the mind but the problem is to raise it, i just become scared when i have to speak, mainly because of their titles and undermining mine.

    I would really appriciate if I can be assisted in this regard, to improve my communication skills and become a better business analyst, because i am very passionate about my Job business analysis.

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